While the idea of beginning a non-profit organization is appealing to many people, running a successful organization is an entirely different story. Non-profit organizations have unique laws they must abide by and certain characteristics that are important to recognize in order to successfully operate. When people are interested in creating a non-profit, they will benefit from having a basic education about general best practices for managing their organization.
For churches in Tennessee, the value and presence of written contracts is important to provide protection to the organization's fundamental components. With clearly articulated guidelines in place, church facilities can operate with the confidence that their agreed-upon terms are being honored.
Starting a nonprofit takes a lot of effort--you have to file with the IRS, create articles of incorporation, set up a board of directors, enact bylaws and deal with myriad other details. But say that's all taken care of. You're ready to start accepting donations now, right? On to the mission!
While any company in Tennessee may provide a beneficial product or service, the primary goal of the nonprofit is to benefit the public, not to make money for the owner and/or shareholders. These organizations often receive benefits such as tax exemption as they pursue their mission.
If you are involved with a Tennessee religious, charitable, educational or scientific organization, your organization could benefit greatly from obtaining 501(c)3 status. As the Foundation Group explains, a 501(c)3 organization is one that receives favorable treatment from the Internal Revenue Service and the state taxing authority.
Even though your Tennessee church is a tax-exempt organization, as its minister, you still have to pay income tax. Whether you are self-employed or an employee of the church may make a difference in what forms you use to pay your taxes, and what your exemptions are. However, you must pay income tax on all of your earnings.
Starting and running a nonprofit organization is a considerable challenge. Between raising money, securing the necessary exemptions and maximizing your charitable contributions and services, there is a lot that organizers and board members need to consider.
Churches today share some similarities with non-religious organizations in how they are run. For instance, church operators need to think about tax-exempt status, employment requirements, insurance and property ownership just as any other business operator would.
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